How We Can Help?

I admit, that I didn’t wrote too much on the recent earthquake…

I didn’t write, not because I am not concerned. To be honest, there are many reasons.

1. TV has been out of my life for a long time. But recently, TV is the center of Wendy and my time at night. We surround the TV set, and watch the latest news from TV all the time – switching between CCTV-1 and Oriental TV, to get the latest reports. At night, we watch TV till very late, which basically occupied my time. Although the scene of the TV is sometimes repeated, but I cannot help sticking with it, and to get latest update.

2. I don’t feel that I can provide unique values by writing too much. As a guideline of this blog, I write things around me that I personally experience, or have personal opinions. First hand information is always what I am seeking for. These days, I suffer from not having any first hand information myself. News site and my friends’ shanghaiist.com already did great job in covering real time news or aggregate information from other sites, and bloggers in Sichuan area did wonderful job to continuously broadcast so I don’t think by quoting their story add unique values.

3. I feel very sad these days when I watch TV programs, when I saw many people were buried under the rubble, and this is already the 4th day of the disaster, and the hope for them to get back is turned into deep sorrow. For me? I don’t have too much comments. What can I say, other then share the pain of the people there? Keeping silent may be the best way for me to do – I mean emotionally, I don’t want to post photos of the misfortunate people there.

I attended the special program by ICS Culture Matters on earthquake as guest speaker, and I was asked the question: "How, as an individual, can help?"

Well. Besides donate money, or cloths, and spread out the news and method about how to help, there is not too many things we can do currently. The bottleneck is at the epicenter. During the program, we had telephone call with a volunteer from Shanghai, who rushed into the area to help. He said: Don’t rush into the area now, since it will add burden to transportation system, and the volunteer him/herself needs food, which is really rare resources there. So what we can do to help?

Besides the link I posted just now, I think we need to take longer term to think about help in the next few months or even two years time-frame. After the first 72 hours of rescuing people, the whole area needs to be reconstructed, and orphans need to be taken care of, and the disabled needs to make a living… There are many things in the long run that we can help. Just keep the helping spirit going, and help in longer terms.

43 Comments

  1. Dear JS

    Really, we can’t help much. What we can do is to donate money, pray and hope that more lives will be saved.. I stay infront of the TV every evening, I am really touched by your PM Wen Jia Bao, the way he is giving encouragement to the people at the disaster areas and stand by them.

  2. Jianshuo,

    You said what’s in in my mind: “There are many things in the long run that we can help. Just keep the helping spirit going, and help in longer terms.”

    I remember Warren Buffett said “philanthropy is always needed” when he gave fortune (stocks) away to Gates foundation. I hope someday we can similar foundations like that in China, and help the people in need, from education to healthcare…

    By the way, Kudos to the Chinese goverment swift response and openness of the media coverage. Besides the devastation of the natural disaster, it reminds me western part of China is still very much under-developed, while we saw enough booming of east coast in media recently.

  3. Jianshuo:

    Do you know why the Chinese government rebuffed offers of foreign rescue teams for three days?

  4. ikuu:

    I’ll answer the question for you: since the government is corrupt and inept, they did not have emergency response plans or sufficient resources available, even though this is a KNOWN earthquake area. So they needed to make sure that only Chinese teams got there first, even though foreigners could have arrived earlier with better equipment. Once again, like in the snowstorm, the gov’t’s image is more important than people’s lives.

    And the Chinese people keep tolerating it…..incredible.

    Ask also why the government did not enforce construction standards or materials in this area, either.

  5. Some possible reasons:

    1) state secret — something related to nuclear or military facilities;

    2) glory — non-professional PLA army men may not beat professional rescue teams;

    3) ability — the government knows it does not have the ability to co-ordinate, manage and control;

    4) money — rescue teams from out of mainland China would not bring money to the corrupted government officials.

  6. Very disappointed with Brain and Benny’s remarks. Every country has their own policies, China is a big country, a country always prone with many big and small natural disasters, the PLA have ability and experiences to manage the aftermath of any of the disasters. Moreover, the earthquake areas are so wide spray, the foreign rescuse teams may not familiar with the geographic situation of Sichuan and cannot help much. Finally, the government allowed the Japan, Russia, Korea, SIngapore and Taiwan rescue teams to join in, just becuase they are nearer to China. I would like salute to the Chinese government who have been responding fast to mobilise the PLA to save more lives and also allowing the western reportors into the disaster areas.

  7. Ikuu:

    First, which foreign team? government-organized? self-organized? where did you hear the news? Credible resources? Or from a resource that has its presumptions and prejudice about the Chinese government, and that has an inate tendency to pointing at the government? CNN may not be a credbile resource with regard to its previous distorted report on the tibet issues.

    Second, if read carefully in Jianshuo’s article, you may find possible reasons below:

    … We had telephone call with a volunteer from Shanghai, who rushed into the area to help. He said: Don’t rush into the area now, since it will add burden to transportation system, and the volunteer him/herself needs food, which is really rare resources there….

    Third,

    Brian:

    “I’ll answer the question for you”. Welll, you might have provided interesting personal perspective. But will appreciate more if you support your point with solid facts, or you first-hand personal experiences/information, and links to credible resources that prove your point. I think the editors from Shanghaiist.com did a good job in reporting the earthquake. After all, you are not Mr. Know-all.

  8. @Coco:

    If you don’t trust western news agencies, take a look at Red Cross website here –

    http://www.redcross.org.sg/chinaearthquake_news.htm#toll50000

  9. @DC – thanks kindly for your wishes…

    @Brian – what’s up?? Why are you so heartless in this time of such tragedy and devestation? There are very few countries in this world (even on fault lines) – apart from Japan – that are prepared for earthquakes of this magitude.

  10. @jian shuo – I’m proud to say that the company I work for, as well as donating a huge sum of money themselves, has setup a special web portal with the American Red Cross to allow Motorola employees to donate money for direct support (shelter, food, clothing, etc) for those victims in need. Every donation that we employees make, gets matched ‘dollar for dollar’ by the company.

  11. It is very expensive to train a rescue team and maintain its equipment. No country can handle it all by itself when facing a disaster such as this earthquake. It is wise for different countries of the world to share their professionalism and advanced equipment.

    It is not a shame that foreign rescue teams are more efficient than PLA men. It’s nothing about sovereignty or national glory. It’s simply professional vs. amateur.

  12. @AussiePB:

    I don’t think Brian is heartless but I do think mainland China’s government is. That’s communist ruler’s nature, which existed in all former (and current) socialist countries in the world.

  13. @Coco

    If you read Chinese and trust Chinese government, please go to the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/chn/xwfw/fyrth/t435231.htm for Qin’s press conference held on 5/15.

  14. Red Cross SG:

    Thank you for providing the link.

    I’m afraid you probably misunderstood what I said. CNN is only an example here for media, not western media. It could be any medium, including Chinese media, online media, etc. Not trusting CNN does NOT stands for not trusting western media. There are Canadian TV network, Australian TV network, French Televisions, German Television, BBC, ITV, Scottish TV, etc and etc. And where do you think a medium like Shanghaiist.com or wangjianshuo.com belongs to? Generalization does not help to reach understandings.

    As for trust, trust isn’t built in one day, or upon one link. It builds over time. It depends on the medium’s consistent pursuit in respecting facts and insightful rather than sensational perspectives. Even for mainstream media who have achieved credibility among the masses of people, there’s no excuse for negligence or distortion. In fact, they have more responsibility with regard to the great social impact they have.

  15. Nai:

    Thank you for providing another link.

    But I feel sorry that you too misread what I wrote. I do read Chinese, and English, too. I am open to different views. I especially appreciate opinions after thinking, not hasty conclusion. It’s interesting to see that you associate my questions for more information with trusting government.

    With regard to trust, I’ve said what I thought in the previous post. Same applies to government, any government, be it British, Chinese, Brazilian, Nigerian, or Singaporean, etc.

  16. Calm down, Coco.

    As the information Ikuu obtained has been confirmed by Red Cross and the Chinese government, it’s reasonable for Ikuu to have his question, right?

    Instead of questioning Ikuu (a suspect?) about source of information, why don’t you answer his question if you can, or tell him his information is incorrect by presenting evidence?

    Be friendly to your fellow readers, please.

  17. This blog topic is reaching out to ask how we can be of help to the suffering people, not a platform for people to air their political beliefs and agendas – there are many other topics here where one can do this. All should be respectful to the victims of this tragedy and take out the heartless political banter and criticism of the government from this particular discussion. We should all be united in this time of need!!! Think of others and not just yourselves – what if your family was affected by this tragedy??

  18. SiChuan Needs your help!!

    如何捐助/HOW TO DONATE/寄付方法

    日本/Japan/日本

    http://www.china-embassy.or.jp/chn/xwdt/t433834.htm

    http://www.jrc.or.jp/sanka/help/news/1394.html

    美国/USA/アメリカ

    http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/xw/t434820.htm

    http://www.nyconsulate.prchina.org/eng/xw/t434849.htm

    http://www.chinaconsulatechicago.org/eng/xw/t434219.htm

    http://www.redcross.org/news/in/profiles/Intl_profile_ChinaEarthquake.html

    英国/Britain/イギリス

    http://uk.china-embassy.org/eng/sghd/t434619.htm

    http://www.redcross.org.uk/donatesection.asp?id=81125

    新加坡/Singapore/シンガポール

    http://www.chinaembassy.org.sg/eng/xwdt/t434618.htm

    http://www.redcross.org.sg/chinaearthquake_src_donate.htm

    法国/France/フランス

    http://www.amb-chine.fr/fra/jrzg/yxzg/t434744.htm

    德国/Germany/ドイツ

    http://www.china-botschaft.de/det/jj/t434631.htm

    http://www.drk.de/tops_2008/0516_china/bericht.html

    澳大利亚/Australia/オーストラリア

    http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/sgfyrth/t434408.htm

    http://www.redcross.org.au/ourservices_aroundtheworld_emergencyrelief_Chinaearthquake.htm

    加拿大/Canada/カナダ

    http://www.chinaembassycanada.org/chn/xwdt/t434330.htm

    http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=000005&tid=003

    新西兰/New Zealand/ニュージーランド

    http://www.redcross.org.nz/index.cfm?layout=displayNews&newsArticle=779&tabID=1

    中国大陆/China (mainland)/中国大陸

    http://news.sina.com.cn/z/08earthquake/donate.shtml

    香港/Hong Kong/香港

    http://www.redcross.org.hk/home.cfm?Mid=2284&FMid=106&SMid=108&popup=0

    台湾/Taiwan/台湾

    http://www.redcross.org.tw/RedCross/index.htm

    其他国家和地区/Other countries/areas/その他の国と地区

    Please contact the Chinese embassy or Red Cross in your country. Thank you very much!

  19. I totally agree with you AussiePB. It’s about thousands of people’s lives. It’s not about selling some people’s political views. I’ve donated half of my monthly salary, and have been thinking how to help in the long term. Many PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) specialists have already gone there and help people recovery mentally. I heard from one expert that, right now, even just one toy or babydoll, will help the children to pull their attention away from the disaster, at least for a while. Jianshuo, together with your friends on this blog, and me and our friends, maybe we can organize a donation of things people in the disaster areas need?

    Doris:

    I am uncalm about the tragedy in Sichuan, about the lives lost there. I am calm about Ikuu’s concern. It IS reasonable for Ikuu to ask questions. And I fully respect Ikuu’s right to ask questions. But it is also reasonable to ask follow-up questions for more information, right? Being friendly doesn’t mean accepting without trying to understanding.

  20. Tibetan Government in Exile has requested Tibetans all over to donate funds to the victims of earthquakes in China and the Nargis flood in Burma. Tibetan Government further went on to hold prayers sessions for the thousands diseased, affected and the people who continue to suffer at this grave time in China.

    Dalai Lama offers help to the Chinese

    Times Online, UK[Sunday, May 18, 2008 10:05]

    By Sara Hashash

    THE Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, has made a gesture of goodwill to China by announcing that he wants to donate to the Chinese earthquake fund, despite Beijing’s denunciations of the “Dalai clique” and its description of him as “a demon”.

    In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said he was worried that a gift to the victims would be misunderstood by China, which accuses him of helping to foment the riots that struck Tibet in March.

    The Dalai Lama, who is due to meet Gordon Brown in London this week, adopted a conciliatory tone in his remarks on China, giving strong backing for the Olympics and expressing his desire to become a fully fledged Chinese citizen. “At the moment I am a refugee. But I would like to return to Tibet as a member of China’s Tibetan minority,” he said.

    Although many of his supporters have called for a boycott of the Olympics, the Dalai Lama said he would have liked to attend them. “It is right that China should have been awarded them,” he said. “It has the world’s largest population and a great and ancient culture. In normal circumstances I would very much like to have gone to Beijing as a spectator.”

    The Dalai Lama also showed a deep-rooted desire to return to Tibet and begin a new life as a monk in a monastery. Aged 72, he predicted that he would retire to a life of tranquillity by the time he was 80: “As soon as the situation does improve and I am able to return to Tibet, I will immediately renounce all legitimate authority.”

    However, he made it clear that he could not go home before China granted Tibet access to the world’s media, medical aid from overseas, the release of all political prisoners and the exercise of human rights.

  21. What can we help ?

    1) Don’t go to the earthquake area in person unless you are a professional in rescue or reconstruction after the disaster. My local friends told me that lots of volunteers, with no experience or professional equipments, went to the epicenter on feet on or in their private cars, bringing little food or water. They intended well but they not only brought additional pressure to local transportation, but also consumed local water and food supply, which were limited already.

    2) Don’t deliver goods to the earthquake area to block the transportation system unless you are 100% sure what you’re going to deliver is urgently needed by victims there. Days ago, my company delivered a batch of medicines and medical equipment to Si Chuan . The goods arrived in Shuang Liu Airport the same day they delivered, but it took my local colleague 2 days to pick them up . It almost drove me mad. There have been so many cargos from all of the country which piled in the airport, even the most emergent goods have to wait long time for pick-up.

    What are needed : Foods, Water, tents, Medicine and medical equipment.

    What are NOT needed, or NOT needed at this point: Second-hand clothers, Toys, books and etc.

    I just called the Red Cross in Si Chuan this morning, who told me that second-hand clothers had already became a burden to them. Second-hand clothes can not be put into use immediately, they need to be sterilized first while both manpower and resource were limited there. I was also told that stuff for infants are urgently needed, but were rarely found among relief goods delivered to Si Chuan, such as milk powder, foods, clothers and diapers. Again, pls be reminded they MUST be brand new to avoid second infection. You may call local Women union for more information.

    3) Donate money. There have been various ways you can donate your money, and help the local victims.

    4) There are many things in the long run that we can help. Just keep the helping spirit going, and help in longer terms.This is my faviorte part in this thread.

  22. Hmmmmmm… let’s see, earthquake, centered in an area largely populated by ethnic Tibetans, happens on May 12. Tibetan Government in exile requests donations for Sichuan and Myanmar on May 18th… Reminds of another leader’s response to a disaster, George Bush and hurricane Katrina. A bit late in my opinion. I also think it’s perfectly reasonable for the Chinese government not let foreign rescue teams in for a while. What kind of numbers can they send? 20 people, 50? The aftershocks are still very strong, just today over 150 relief workers were killed in a landslide. The government doesn’t want to be responsible for the lives of foreigners at this time of great danger. Many people with a political axe to grind will use this human tragedy to sell their point of view. To me that is despicable. The rescue and relief efforts have been very inspirational. The love of the people for their fellow citizens in distress is deep and obvious.

  23. @ Da Long.

    All the victims that we see are Chinese faces, and of not Tibetans. Perhaps Chinese government is hiding the pictures and faces of Tibetan victims. If that is the case, please let us know.

    Many a times, the places that natural disaster hit say alot about its regime. Its time to review “mandate of heaven” on CCP. Chinese government now wants to “divide the sorrow” by asking its citizens to show generosity. I someday hope to see CCP return these generosity to its people by having Human Rights prevail, having people speak their mind and having a voice. When happiness is shared, happiness multiply.

    My humble Buddhist prayers for all the innocent Chinese brothers and sisters. OM MANI PADME HUM. OM VAJRA SATTVA HUM. OM AH HUM BENZA GURU PEDMA SEYDEY HUM.

  24. @TibetanLady – how can you even suggest this disaster is a ‘mandate of heaven’ on anybody in such a tragic time? So much loss and suffering. Yesterday was Vesak day – your post is not akin to the teachings of the Dharma. Shame on you to use this tragedy as a platform to criticise anyone and then try and disguise it with prayer.

  25. To TibetanLady

    We are just ordinary people.

    Please don’t politic and pour salt on the wound at this moment.

    The teachings of the Dharma is to be compassionate.

    OM MANI PADME HUM

  26. To TibetanLady

    We are just ordinary people.

    Please don’t politic and pour salt on the wound at this moment.

    The teachings of the Dharma is to be compassionate.

    OM MANI PADME HUM

  27. Firstly I’d like to express all my sympathy to the victims in this horrible earthquake.

    I’m glad we’re given a chance to help the people with money, since this is the best (and probably the only reasonable) way to help them for the moment being.

    I DO HOPE that THE MONEY WILL REACH THEIR DESTINATION. Don’t call me a paranoic, we’ve seen a lot of abuses of donations. In this hard times of pain many people want to help, but there’re also few people that would like to exploit the disaster for their own benefit.

    So, maybe there’re few more things Chinese could do to help the victims of the earthquake:

    – to observe and make sure the money are used reasonably.

    – to make sure those who are responsible (being tipped) for the bad quality of the buidings take the responsibility for it. Otherwise the next time it happens the buildings will collapse again.

  28. I am SO SORRY about the multiple post.

    PLEASE delete the multuple msg’s as well as this one.

    Thank you!

    (I had a problem with my internet connection)

    Thanks for the understanding again!

  29. I am criticizing Chinese government and not Chinese people. There is a huge sky and earth difference between the two. Hope everyone realize that. Whether you believe it or not, my prayers are and will always be with Chinese people. They are same human beings as everyone else and deserve the right to be free in their country.

  30. Hi @TibetanLady – I understand the criticism you were trying to make.

    My point is that this post is to see how we can help the victims of the disaster, not a platform to begin debate again on China / Tibet and the Chinese Govt – there are many other posts where you can (and have) posted your point of view.

    There are many people that do or do not support the Chinese Govt, but although they happen to work for the Govt, they too are actually human beings, and it is not nice to infer that anyone deserves what has occurred on 5.12 or for anyone to suggest that it was a ‘mandate from heaven’ (a statement which in many religions would be considered blasphemous).

    God bless!!

  31. Do what we can do to help with the victims of the disaster!

  32. Premier Wen tried two days to help foreign rescue teams cross borders into China but there was some underground power that didn’t want it to happen.

    Again, Premier Wen’s orders to PLA forces stationed in “Chengdu Military Area” were not carried out efficiently because they are loyal to another bigshot. More PLA men from “Ji’nan Military Area” had to be mobilized and they’ve been working much better.

    It is true the government is doing a much much better job than before, but still, the relief efforts have been badly hampered by some political influence.

    It IS a political problem. To address this problem is a critical aspect in which we can help.

  33. @PLA man – I’m proud to say that all our help has gotten through completely fine – and as well as all the RMB millions worth of cash, equipment and infrastructure we have sent, we have many engineers successfully deployed and working on-site in the immediate affected area. This is in relation to emergency response communications equipment and mobile communications infrastructure equipment… we have had full co-operation from all authorities… no underground powers, no political influence – just complete support to help the victims…

  34. AussiePB, it’s not that “perfect”. Jiang and Hu are still fighting. Soldiers are good, but not all generals.

  35. PLA man

    You know in reality nothing could be prefect. I am not sure why you attach your comments like this under a topic discussing “How We Can Help”, but apparently your speculation won’t provide any meaningful suggestion to help those victims of such a big disaster. The top priority right now is to rescue as many as possible. So please save your criticism until it’s a right time for retrospect.

  36. @PLA man – for us our efforts have gone off perfectly – u are talking from some sort of personal experience? Or u just trying to inflame people in this time when people need our help? Be gracious and have a heart – take this strange line of discussion off this post please.

  37. Message just issued to employees from Motorola President, Asia Pacific:

    Motorola continues to support Sichuan earthquake disaster relief

    Total donation reaches RMB15 million

    Motorola today announced additional donations to support the disaster relief in Sichuan, bringing the total cumulative amount to RMB15 million in cash, mobile networking equipment, mobile handsets and two way radios plus related onsite technical services. Motorola employees in China and around the world are participating in the disaster relief effort by donating cash valued over RMB2 million, matched by Motorola funds amounting to over RMB4 million.

    We want to let you know that Motorola Foundation was overwhelmed by the extent of the tragedy and equally overwhelmed by the generous response of our employees worldwide. On Monday they called an emergency meeting of the Motorola Foundation Board to raise the amount of their matching donation to USD250,000 (RMB1.75 million). The Foundation will continue to work with the China Management team to provide further support for rebuilding activities in the future.

    Apart from the donation in cash, we want to highlight the rapid response and significant contribution from each of our businesses. Immediately following the earthquake we began working with our customers and partners to restore communications in the impacted areas and donated a wide range of equipment and services, including TETRA portable radios, CDMA mobile phones, Remote Speaker Micro-phone, GSM network equipment and services. As the extent of the damage has become better understood, our businesses have expanded these donations and our technical teams have moved onsite to work closely with the customers, partners and related organizations to provide communications for the affected areas as quickly as possible. This rapid and ongoing response is something we should be proud of!

    We are also touched by what Motorolans are doing to support the relief effort, whether through cash donations or voluntary donations of critical necessity items such as flashlights, blanket, and clothing for the people in Sichuan. The efforts are deeply appreciated.

    Once again, we want to express our sincere gratitude to all Motorolans who have helped through different ways. It is a blessing that we can give to those in need, but we must keep in mind that our individual and company aid and assistance will continue to be needed over the days, weeks and months ahead. Please continue to keep the Sichuan people in your thoughts and prayers.

  38. @AussiePB:

    Good on ya, mate !

    Facta non verba.

  39. On 25 May 08 evening, a Singapore TV Charity show alone raised about S$7M (RMB35M) for the Sichuan earthquake victims within 3 hours. There are also tens of millions dollars donations through Red-cross.

    We just want the Sichuan people to know that the people from a small country can also play their parts to help.

  40. Oh just wondering if the Chinese have forgotten that “foreigners are bad” and “the west is evil” just a few days before the earthquake. And I thought money is now coming from outside of china (namely: “foreigners”) Is china going to “anti” foreign $ now?

  41. I just came to learn through my parents that HH The Dalai Lama has requested Tibetans to donate blood to Chinese people through Red Cross.

    And 99.9% of Tibetans take to heart His advice and suggestions.

  42. @Tanna:

    Oh you got it wrong my dear !

    you see, we chinese have always separated the foreigners into the good, the bad and the A-holes. No prizes for guessing which group your wonderful comments put you in.

    However if you have any $ for us, we will take it too ! :D

  43. @TibetanLady

    I am skeptical of your 99.9% statistic. There are a million of so Dorje Shugden practitioners, and I doubt they take to heart His advice and suggestions.

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